In this issue of the Blood-Letter: a preview of Bloody Thursday guest Tom Hatch, an Ace Atkins feature, Shamus Award winners, and more!

January 2013

BLOODY THURSDAY January 24, 2013: Arson Investigation

Tom Hatch, an Oregon State Police Department Arson Detective, is our January speaker.  Detective Hatch investigates fires at all levels, from accidental fires to incendiary fires.  He responds to all fatal fires, both accidental as well as suspicious.  Investigation can vary from handling origin and cause, and releasing his finding to the host agency for follow-up, or handling fires from origin and cause, following up to arrest and conviction.


1990 – 1994: Hatch was employed as a Patrol officer assigned to the Klamath Falls Patrol Office.  Additional duties consisted of assisting in criminal investigations, from Class C Misdemeanors to Aggravated Murder.

1994 – 2000: Hatch was assigned to the Portland Patrol Office in the Patrol Division, where his duties included functions involving motor vehicle law enforcement and initial response to calls for service involving criminal activities in progress.

2000 – 2007:  Hatch was assigned to the Arson Unit as an Accelerate K-9 Handler/Fire Investigator.  He attended K-9 Handler School in Front Royal, Virginia, for approximately seven weeks.  Upon completion he was assigned as a member of the National Response Team (NRT).  The NRT is comprised of ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) Agents from around the country, and they are assisted by K-9’s.  Their primary response is to investigate hate crimes, high loss of life or high dollar loss involving fire, either accidental or incendiary.  The K-9 and Handler had to be able to respond anywhere in the country in the event of a fire involving one of these crimes.  Between K-9 duties and his own case load investigations, responding to 60-80 fires per year was common.  In 2007 his K-9 was retired through mandatory policy and was adopted by Hatch and his family.

2007 – Present:  Detective Hatch’s duties are similar to those mentioned previously, without the K-9 obligation.

We hope you will be able to join us for what promises to be a fun presentation. The program will begin at 7:30 pm at Terwilliger Plaza. Directional signs will be posted in the building. The meeting is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Terwilliger Plaza employee parking lots across 6th Avenue from the lower level entrance, and on Sheridan Street. Handicapped parking is available at the upper level entrance. Tri-Met bus #8, Jackson Park, stops just in front of the lower level entrance.

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Bless Yore Pea-Pickin’ Heart

By Pete Scott 

Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins

If you are a person who drinks RC cola with your Moon Pies or considers fried pickles a green vegetable, then  new series by Ace Atkins and Rick Gavin might be just for you.

They are writing crime novels about the South that is off the interstate – way off.  If you are a fan of the TV series “Justified”, then Atkins’ series about Quinn Colson and Gavin’s series about Nick Reid are worth checking out.  Atkins’ stories are set in northern Mississippi with Quinn currently serving in the Army as a Ranger, who in the first book (The Ranger), is home to attend the funeral of his uncle, the sheriff, who appears to have died of a self-inflicted gun-shot.  But Quinn is not buying the story and starts poking around asking questions.  The situation starts going sideways from there.  The book is a straight ahead account of how Colson sorts everything out.

TheRanger-medRick Gavin writes about a former cop from somewhere up North who now works as a repo man for the sleazy owner of an electronics store in the Mississippi delta.  This is more of a humorous look at rural crime.  In the book titled Ranchero, Nick and his super-sized buddy, Desmond, try to find Nick’s stolen pristine pink Ford Ranchero.  Lots of great characters and dialogue in both books.  The second books in both series are now out.

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The 2012 Shamus Awards

Presented by The Private Eye Writers of America (PWA)

  • Best Hardcover PI Novel
    A Bad Night’s Sleep, by Michael Wiley
  • Best Paperback Original PI Novel
    Fun & Games, by Duane Swierczynski
  • Best First PI Novel
    Shortcut Man, by P.G. Sturges
  • Best PI Short Story
    “Who I Am”, by Michael Z. Lewin (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, December 2011)
  • The Hammer Lifetime Achievement
    Nate Heller, created by Max Allan Collins

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An Opportunity for Writers

Ballot Press is a book publisher that provides a monthly contest along with interactions with other writers.

Each month, a new winner is chosen for a $2,000 prize and a chance to be published based on votes from readers and Ballot Press judges.

This is a good deal for your writers at a time mainstream publishers have lowered percentages to authors of eBooks while offering less marketing.  Ballot Press contest winners who are chosen for publishing are provided professional editing and unique and aggressive marketing that includes selling through other online eBook retailers.  Ballot Press authors earn 50 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of their work.

In addition, through our monthly contest, writers are provided critiques from other authors.

Go to for contest rules   and more information.

If any of your Friends of Mystery members have questions, please email me at

Thank you,
Josh Friedman

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Future Mystery Events…


February 1-3: Love is Murder XIV, Rosemont, IL.  For writers and readers.  GOHs: Lee Goldberg, Michael Harvey.

March 21-24: Left Coast Crime, Colorado Springs, CO.  GOHs: Laura Lippman & Craig Johnson.

May 3-5: Malice Domestic 25, Bethesda, MD.  GOH: Laurie R. King, International GOH: Peter Robinson, Lifetime: Aaron Elkins.

May 30-June 2: CrimeFest, Bristol, UK.  GOHs: Lee Child, Jeffrey Deaver, Frederick Forsyth, Sue Grafton, P.D. James, Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom.

July 10-11: Thrillerfest, New York, NY.  Spotlight Guests: Michael Connelly, T. Jefferson Parker; ThrillerMaster: Anne Rice.

July 28-21: Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK.  Chair: Val McDermid.  Special Guests: Kate Atkinson, Charlaine Harris, Susan Hill, Ruth Rendell.

September 19-22: Bouchercon 44, Albany, NY.  GOH: Sue Grafton, International GOH: P.C. Doherty.


March 20-23: Left Coast Crime, Monterey, CA.  GOHs: Cara Black, Louise Penny.

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Recent Well-Reviewed Mysteries

The Dark Winter by David MarkDavid Mark, The Dark Winter. A first mystery novel that’s a gripping read.  A police procedural set in the northern England city of Hull.  Aector McAvoy is on the scene when a teenage girl is savagely murdered in Hull’s historic church.  As he tries to solve this case there are more victims who all have something in common – they were all survivors of previous fatal tragedies.  A very suspenseful whodunit.

Black House by Peter MayPeter May,  The Blackhouse.  DS Fin MacLeod is sent back to the Island of Lewis off the coast of northern Scotland in the Outer Hebrides where he grew up.  He is investigating a murder that resembles one that took place in Edinburgh, where he works.  He hasn’t been back home in twenty years, and the story alternates between the past and the present.

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Submissions Needed

Members and readers are encouraged to submit book or film reviews, comments on authors, and recommendations for books to read or questions about mysteries, crime fiction and fact. You can mail these to our PO Box 8251, Portland, Oregon 97207 or send to our email address at

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